First-time buyers queue for five days in bid for homes
HOUSE hunters are camping out tonight at a new home scheme in Swords - in scenes reminiscent of the height of the property boom.
The first member of the queue arrived at around 8pm on Tuesday night and was soon joined by three others, bringing foldable chairs to wait until the launch - which does not take place until Saturday.
They are waiting in the hope of a house in Millers Glen, a new development consisting of two, three and four-bed family homes, in the popular north Dublin suburb.
Three-bedroom end-terrace houses at the development are on the market at €279,950.
Three-bedroom semis cost €289,950, while a four-bed detached house is selling for €399,950.
Megan O'Shaughnessy (23), who works as a retail manager, is first in line. She plans to take it in turns with her fiance, a sales assistant, so they don't lose their place in the line.
"No one is allowed in to see the houses until Saturday, but I'm going to stay here until then.
"I haven't looked around the house, but they're a good price. It's a three-bed semi I'm after," she told the Irish Independent.
She said house prices in the vicinity of the development are "rising fast".
The couple have saved €30,000 - 10pc of the house price - and secured a mortgage for the remaining €250,000.
Ronan O'Driscoll, a director of the sales agents Sherry FitzGerald, said interest in the housing units was "unprecedented" but added that he was still "surprised" to find people queuing overnight.
"Even in the boom, people tended not to queue out overnight. I should point out that these buyers are all interested in specific houses.
"By Saturday we might have the same four people but we can't rule out more joining them."
"Brand new" homes are a rarity in Dublin - there are only a handful of schemes where houses are being built from scratch with most "new" schemes comprising refurbished or half-finished estates left empty after the crash.
"The houses being built today are very different from those started in the boom," said Mr O'Driscoll.
"They are all A-rated, built to a higher standard under new regulations. In general, they are around 30pc larger."
The last time Dublin saw a queue for a new scheme was in September 2006.